Milan – The Roman Catholic chaplain for one of Italy’s biggest prisons has been arrested on charges of demanding sexual favours from inmates in exchange for cigarettes and basic necessities such as soap, shampoo and hair brushes.
Father Alberto Barin, aged 51, was arrested late on Tuesday.
Police said he had forced at least six male inmates, all of them non-Italians jailed for minor crimes, to have sex with him in his office or elsewhere in the San Vittore prison, in Milan.
A magistrate’s arrest warrant said Barin used his power and influence within the prison to “almost obsessively satisfy his sexual urges”.
When Barin managed to help get a prisoner released early, he would ask the inmate to come to his office before leaving to re-pay the favour by having sex, police said.
The investigation began after an inmate told prison authorities, who then set up hidden video cameras in his office and elsewhere in the prison.
The Roman Catholic Church around the world has been hit by various sex accusations. The most serious ones involve sexual abuse of minors by priests and attempts to cover up the scandals by moving abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them.